More than 150 remote communities in B.C. will soon have high-speed internet following a $45.4-million investment from two levels of government.
Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott announced Wednesday Ottawa would commit $34 million to build 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre optic cable along B.C.’s coast. The remaining $11.4 million will come from the province.
B.C. Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims said faster internet is as important to the economy today as the railroad was in the 19th century.
The internet speeds will be “comparable to cities like Vancouver,” Sims said.
The money will help connect 44 First Nations.
“Working remotely will now become a reality. Coders, designers, accountants, linguists and small business people can now reach a global audience,” said Peter Lantin, Haida Nation elected president.
“Transitioning away from our dependency on resource-based economy becomes a reality.”
Faster internet connections will slow the brain-drain of young people leaving Haida Gwaii that Lantin said the islands have been experiencing.
The faster connection speeds will also help the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network, which monitor and protect the lands and waters on their territories, “operate in real-time.”
More than 100 watchmen patrol the coast along First Nation territories, watching for heavy vessels and monitoring emergency responses.
“They compile large amounts of data on tourism, enforcement, wildlife and cultural sites,” said Lantin.
Currently, it takes four hours to upload that information, he said, and fibre optic internet is expected to reduce that.A list of communities receiving internet:
North Coast Regional DistrictCity West Interconnect (Ridley Island)Dodge CoveHartley Bay (Gitga’at First Nation)Kitkatla (Gitxaala Nation)Lax Kw’alaamsMetlakatla First NationOld Massett (Old Massett Village Council)Oona RiverPrince Rupert AirportPrince Rupert South Interconnect
Kitimat-Stikine Regional DistrictKlemtu (Kitasoo)Central Coast Regional DistrictBella Bella (Heiltsuk)Bella CoolaDuncandy LandingMartin ValleyOcean FallsOweekeno (Wuikinuxv Nation)Shearwater
Mount Waddington Regional DistrictAlert BayBull Harbour (Tlatlasikwala)Cape ScottCoal Harbour—ref.Quatsino IR 50633Da’naxda’xw First NationEcho BayGwa’Sala-Nakwaxda’xwGwawaenuk TribeHealth Bay (Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis)HolbergHyde CreekKains IslandKingcome (Dzawada’enuxw First Nation)KwakiutlMahatta RiverMamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’EmMitchell BayNamgis First NationPort HardyPort McNeillQuatsinoQuatsinoRumble BeachShawl BaySointulaTelegraph CoveWinter Harbour
Regional District of Alberni-ClayoquotAhousaht (ref. Marktosis 8592)BamfieldHaggar LakeHesquiahtHesquiatHuu-ay-ahtHuu-ay-aht First NationsMarktosis (+50659 Ahousaht)Opitsat (Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations)Poett NookSalmon BeachTla-o-qui-ahtTofinoToquahtToquahtUchucklesahtUclueletUclueletUcluelet First Nation
Capital Regional DistrictBeecher BayDeep CoveFernwoodFulford HarbourGangesMusgrave LandingPacheedaht First NationPort RenfrewPort WashingtonRiver JordanSaseenosSaturnaShirleySidneySookeTseycumT’Sou-keT’Sou-ke First NationVictoria
Cowichan Valley Regional DistrictChemainus (Stz’uminus First Nation)DitidahtLyacksonMalahat First NationPenelakut (Penelakut Tribe)
Regional District of NanaimoBowserNanaimoNanoose First NationQualicum Beach
Comox Valley Regional DistrictComoxWilliams Beach
Metro Vancouver Regional DistrictGambier HarbourSnug CoveVancouver Interconnect
Sunshine Coast Regional DistrictEarls CoveEgmontGibsonsHalfmoon BayLangdaleNew BrightonPope LandingRoberts CreekSecheltSecret CoveWelcome BeachWilliamsons LandingWilson Creek
Power River Regional DistrictBarney’s BarBlack PointBliss LandingBrew BayGillies BayLang BayLasquetiLundMyrtle PointPinetreePowell RiverSaltery BaySliammon (Tla’amin Nation)StillwaterVan AndaWestview